The Dance of the Hummingbirds

Written by Anna Seden 

“They’re dancing again!” I hollered from the kitchen to my husband.


“The hummers! They’re back at it again!” 

He wandered to the kitchen window where I was standing and looked over my shoulder. There they were. Two little hummingbirds at our feeding station were doing some sort of winged dance that only occasionally allowed them to sit and feed. 

“What on earth are they doing?” Looming a head taller than me, he could easily watch the scene from over my shoulder. 

“I don’t think they’re fighting. I think it’s more like some sort of game.”

They settled on the feeder’s perches, sitting directly opposite sides. They took quick, almost furtive sips before darting off to one side. It was as if they were checking to see where the other one was before they could rest to eat again. Back and forth, up and down, they went, participating in a dipping, swaying dance for two. 

“They don’t appear to be attacking each other. They seem more competitive and protective than angry,” my husband offered his observation. “What as that?!” 

A third hummingbird dove into the dance, scattering the two we had been watching, sending them to nearby trees. Everyone remained still as if someone had called a silent truce. 

“That, my dear, was a lesson in ownership,” I told him. “The new bird doesn’t want the feeder, but he also doesn’t want them to have it. I would offer a word of warning to all around: don’t get between him and his feeder!” 

“Do they do that to you?” he grinned, pointing at the perched birds.

“Well, let’s just say that I’ve been close enough to know why they’re called hummers!” 

I thought about them all day. I thought about how they would spend so much energy and effort dancing around the source of their delight, the nectar, but not settle on it for long. They were so concerned about the others at the feeder that they couldn’t or wouldn’t allow themselves the joy of sitting and taking in the fullness that which was prepared just for them. And beyond not enjoying what was there for them, they wouldn’t allow anyone else to either.

I a way, I suppose we are sometimes like my hummingbirds. Dancing around the very Source of our being. Never settling on Him for long, but flitting about our own designs, wrapped up on our own needs, jealousies, and distractions. We too spend too little time sitting still in the moments He provides for us. 

A moment at the window. A moment of observation. Sure gave me a lot to think about.